On February 25th in Kiel, Germany, a unique vessel was presented to the public - the world's largest catamaran-type vessel powered exclusively by solar panels.
The goal of the global project PlanetSolar is to travel around the world on a ship that produces zero emissions and is powered only by solar energy. The environmentally friendly and virtually silent voyage would take around 140 days at an average speed of 8 knots. During the voyage, it is planned to set several world records and make stops in most major ports, where the possibilities of renewable energy, in particular solar energy, will be presented to a wide audience.
The vessel is currently under construction at Knierim Yachtbau in Kiel and is scheduled for launch in April 2010. The design project was developed under the supervision of renowned hull designer Craig Loomes, who is renowned for his wavepiercers projects.
The ship is 35 meters long and 16 meters wide. The height of the boat is 7.5 meters. On the flat top of the hull there are about 500 square meters of solar cells feeding four highly efficient electric motors with a total capacity of 239 hp through a battery of lithium-ion batteries. The batteries weigh 11.7 tonnes and can store up to 1.3 megawatts of energy. The developers point out that a similar battery of conventional "car" batteries would weigh 75 tons.
The displacement of the catamaran during the round-the-world voyage will be 65 tons. At the end of the tour the boat will be converted into a luxury yacht with a displacement of about 85 tons.